Fisher: How Can All These Amari Cooper Cowboys Contract Stories Be So Wrong?

Mike Fisher
May 21, 2019 - 12:52 pm

FRISCO (105.3 THE FAN) - Just as I hope you ignored the breathless reports from 10 days ago that the contract extension talks between Amari Cooper and the Dallas Cowboys are some sort of disaster because the receiver's "contract demands were deemed shockingly high'' by the Cowboys, I hope you can ignore the latest reports of yet another disaster because there is no progress to report.

Really, I'm not sure "no progress to report'' even merits a story. But the Cowboys want to get this exactly right, and so does Cooper's side. So, in the interest of that effort:

The Cowboys were not at all shocked by Cooper's contract proposal back before May 8. And why not?

"Because,'' said a source close to the negotiations, "the Cowboys have not yet received a contract proposal from Amari Cooper.''

Has that changed in the last 10 days? It's possible that an exchange of proposals has occurred, and that would be news.

But if an exchange of proposals has occurred -- because as of 10 days ago the Cowboys hadn't produced a proposal for Cooper, either -- wouldn't that quality as "progress''?

A second source close to the negotiations tells me that Cooper's side is aware that Dallas COO Stephen Jones and company are open to continuing the conversations in a way that would lock up the Pro Bowler under the terms of a long-term deal that will lessen his present cap impact (he's in the final year of a contract that he brings over from having been traded by the Raiders last October that presently counts $13.9 million). But the details of such a deal are still left entirely to educated-guesswork. We've talked a lot about a deal that might pay $16 million annually. We do so in part because a year ago, Dallas made a free-agent bid on Sammy Watkins -- a lesser player than Cooper -- and offered $16 mil a year. We also do so because the ceiling on NFL receiver pay is right above that. Antonio Brown's deal in Oakland averages $16.7 million; that would be the number to beat, unless it is Cooper's desire to surpass the Browns' deal with Odell Beckham.

Beckham's contract pays him an average of $18 million per season. We can argue: If Cooper was to ask $18 million a year, would that be "shockingly high''? Or would be a sensibly lofty goal?

The Joneses have expressed confidence in an eventual deal getting done. So has Cooper, saying, “I really don’t think about it much. I feel like we have time. … I feel like they’re active about it and they want to get it done.”

Meanwhile, there is a mainstream media outlet suggesting that Cooper is going to get $14 mil APY and there is another a mainstream outlet that reports he's going to get $20 mil APY. ... and obviously, one of them is way way wrong. And really, probably both of them are.

One involved source, reflecting on the mistaken reports, grumbled to me, "Why is there no (journalistic) accountability here?''

I didn't have an answer for him.